Travelling Across India During Ramadan: What You Can Expect

Considered the holiest and most sacred month in Islamic calendar, Ramadan is one of the most important festivals for Muslims worldwide. As part of the Ramadan ritual, Muslims must perform fasting throughout the month to express their spiritual and physical submission to God. Moreover, there are also additional restrictions on smoking, drinking, and other activities during this month. Performing Umrah—the minor pilgrimage in Makkah, Saudi Arabia—is also encouraged for Ramadan.

Ramadan 2023 is reported to take place on 23 March 2023 and will then followed by Eid Fitr. Expected to last for 30 days, Ramadan is also a quite widespread and significant celebration in India. If you are looking to travel across India during Ramadan next year, here is a list of things and events you can expect to encounter throughout the country.  

Prayer offerings across different mosques in India

Ramadan is a time when Muslim devotees across India offer namaz (prayers) in various mosques across the country. Namaz offering is carried out at large in almost every mosque in India. 

Some famous mosques with rich cultural and historical values like Jama Masjid in Delhi, Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad, Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Haji Ali Dargah, and Salim Chisti Tomb in Fatehpur Sikri are must-visits for every devotee travelling in India during Ramadan. Some Muslims across the country even make special trips to visit these significant points of interest.

Please take note that mosques are typically off-limits to non Muslims and they will be especially crowded around dawn and early evening as Muslim devotees congregate for prayers and break their fast during those times in the day. 

The Seheriwalas or Zohridaars wandering the streets of Delhi

Representing the old Mughal culture and legacy of the capital city of India—Delhi, the Seheriwalas (or the Zohridaars) follow centuries-old Muslim traditions. When travelling in Delhi during Ramadan, you will come across Seheriwalas wandering the city’s streets in the wee hours of the morning.

In case you are staying near Old Delhi, prepare yourself to come across this age-old custom of chanting for Allah’s and the Prophet’s names to act as a wake-up call to Muslims for Suhoor (the morning meal eaten by Muslims before the sun rises during Ramadan)

Special delicacies in different restaurants

Iftar (evening meal eaten by Muslims after the sun sets down during Ramadan) parties are prevalent in different cities across India, including Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bangalore, and Delhi. 

During these times, it is common to find special Ramadan delicacies in many restaurants across India. Some of these items include nalli nihari, seekh kebab, kaleji fry, haleem, keema samosa, falafel, dum biriyani and a lot more. Each city may have their own Ramadan specialties with a unique local twist.

Moreover, in some cities, eateries remain open all night during Ramadan, preparing for Suhoor takeouts.  

While these Iftar parties are obviously hosted for Muslim devotees looking to break the fast together, sometimes they are also open for guests from all walks of life. Invitation to join in the group meal may be extended to tourists or friends.